Paris, 08 June 2015 – The international music community, covering all aspects of the industry’s diverse ecosystem, gathered in Cannes June 5-8 to do business, network and listen to an unprecedented line-up of industry leaders give keynote presentations, discover new talent from across the United States, Asia and Europe and celebrate Armenia – the Midem 2015 Country of Honour.
And throughout the four-day event, attention was firmly focused on the future of the digital streaming market, with Apple expected to give details of its entry into the sector on June 8. Reflecting growing industry support for subscription streaming services, both Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris and Deezer’s new CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht, told Midem delegates that Apple’s move into streaming should be positive for the music sector.
With some 75 countries represented and three new national pavilions hosting delegations from South Africa, Israel and the Ivory Coast, Midem continues to host the largest number of countries at a single music event. Attendance from industry delegates (Midem opened its doors to the general public for the first time this year) reached 5,500 and brought together the industry’s key decision-makers from the entire music ecosystem creating a vibrant platform for networking, meetings, deal making and business.
Commenting on attendance, Midem Director Bruno Crolot noted, “the international footprint of Midem is unique and that is encouraging. So too is the fact that we have major labels, indies, music publishers, streaming specialists, giant digital platforms, major brands, and exciting tech innovators attending the event. Our line-up of conference speakers is unrivalled and the inaugural Midem Artist Accelerator programme brings 14 finalists to Cannes to showcase their extraordinary talent to delegates and the public.
“The downside is that Midem is clearly being ‘pirated.’ By this I mean there are a substantial number of industry executives, who are attending and holding meetings without registering. We have tried to explain why there is real value in signing up for Midem and benefitting from the incredible business opportunities, networking, and panel discussions provided within the show. This activity is really frustrating, is unfair to our paying clients and is not good for Midem and we reserve the right to take action against such ‘pirates’ in the future,” commented Crolot.
Midem regulars described this year’s conference programme as being one of the strongest industry line-ups in years. Incorporating all aspects of the music ecosystem, keynote conferences included presentations from Sony Music Entertainment CEO, Doug Morris – who received a Midem/Billboard Lifetime Achievement award during the event, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CEO of Universal Music Group’s parent company Vivendi, Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht – making his first public address to the industry since taking over the streaming service’s helm in February, SoundCloud Founder and CEO Alexander Ljung, Composer, Singer/Songwriter and Actor Paul Williams, YouTube’s Global Head of Music Partnerships Christophe Muller and Vania Schlogel, Chief Investment Officer of HD streaming service Tidal.
Among the key takeaway points made throughout the conference programme:
- Sony Music Entertainment CEO and industry icon, Doug Morris drew a standing-room only crowd to his keynote conversation. Commenting on streaming models he noted, “Pay…good. Ad-supported…unless there is a conversion factor into a pay service…not so good.” Doug Morris added, “I do think that this change to streaming signifies a tipping point for the industry.” According to the Sony Music Entertainment CEO, while the value of the music industry has halved to around $15 billion in the last 10 years, streaming could compensate for that decline. He said that the imminent arrive of Apple into the streaming business would be good for everyone as Apple would raise awareness about streaming.
- Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CEO of Universal Music Group’s parent Vivendi, which is close to acquiring a majority stake in Dailymotion said, “With UMG, we want to be part of the growth of subscription streaming.” He added, “I do believe in the future of streaming. I do believe that streaming is going to lead the charge and enable us to create good mechanical growth within the industry.” And the Vivendi CEO noted that new methods of music distribution opened up new markets, such as Africa, with strong growth potential.
- New Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht, making his first public appearance before industry executives, told his Miderm audience that the arrival of Apple into the streaming market is a positive development. “If a big company like Apple comes into the streaming business, it proves it’s the (business) model of the future. On pricing, Albrecht noted, “it’s not about the price point in itself, it’s about the value for money proposition.” The Deezer CEO said that it is not enough simply to make millions of songs available to clients. Value will be generated by added features and explaining why consumers should pay for them.
- Tidal’s Chief Investment Officer Vania Schlogel gave a spirited defense of the recently-launched streaming service which has been accused of being an elitist platform for its powerful backers who initially included Founder Jay Z, Coldplay, Beyonce, Madonna, Rihanna and Kanye West. She commented that “there is a lot of misinformation and misperception” and that the Tidal Discovery and Tidal Rising services aim to support indie artists.
There was universal acclaim for the inaugural Midem Artists Accelerator programme (presented with Pepsi and Deezer), designed to develop new international talent, provide artists with dedicated mentoring sessions and live showcases to develop their career beyond their home territory.
The programme’s prestigious Artistic Committee, includes Epic Records’ Chairman and CEO L.A. Reid, Natalia Nastaskin, The Agency Group USA CEO, legendary Producer and Promoter Harvey Goldsmith, Rob Hallett, who recently launched his new company Robomagic, Will Botwin, President & CEO of Red Light Management and ATO Records; Christopher Kaskie, President and Founder of the Pitchfork stable; Mathieu Jaton, CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival and Fruzsina Szép, Director of Festival Coordination & Public Affairs at Hörstmann Unternehmensgruppe.
13 of the 14 finalists (France’s Sly Johnson was unable to attend due to a pre-Midem sports accident) performed live, open-air concerts to delegates and the Cannes public throughout Midem. US R&B Singer/Songwriter Timothy Bloom summed up the mood among the finalists telling industry publication Music Week, “The acknowledgment alone is amazing, knowing that I even crossed their (Artistic Committee) mind to be a part of this great festival… This project for me just awakened my spirit.”
With major online platforms and streaming services such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Qobuz, Peertracks and Tidal attending Midem, conference speakers and delegates discussed the increase in digital music revenues and the question of how to share those revenues equitably with songwriters and artists.
France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, Fleur Pellerin told Midem delegates that she is “very concerned about how streaming services are paying artists.” The Minister added that the French government will “seriously study the current business model of music streaming services” in order to support financing for French artists.
And there was plenty of digital-related news breaking to coincide with Midem. Jay Z’s Tidal announced its streaming service now includes concert ticketing following a partnership with Ticketmaster. Amazon’s Prime Music streaming service celebrated its first birthday this month claiming “several million” Prime Members. Spotify told Billboard magazine that it paid $300 million to rights holders in the first quarter of this year and Universal Music Group confirmed that it had joined Sony and Warner in sharing un-recouped digital advances with artists. But the question that many people were asking is how last minute revenue-sharing negotiations between Apple and major labels will turn out, before Apple unveils details of its new streaming service.
With 2015 designated Year of Armenian Culture and Armenia chosen as Midem’s Country of Honour, Armenian music and culture was showcased throughout Midem. Live performances from the Hover Chamber Choir, the Armenian State Jazz Orchestra and the country’s State Youth Orchestra, were complemented by live sets covering genres ranging from pop to rock to jazz.
Highlight of the celebration was the Midem Country of Honour dinner, attended by Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan. Underlining the diversity of Armenia’s cultural heritage, guests included former Midem Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Charles Aznavour, singers Rosy Armen, Liz Saryan and Maria Guleghina, composers Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor Sergey Smbatyan, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, film directors Alain Terzian and Robert Guédiguian and painter Tigran Tsitoghdzyan. Guests were treated to a special recital from the Hover Chamber Choir in honour of celebrated Armenian priest, musicologist, composer, choirmaster and singer Komitas, who died 80 years ago.
“The Armenia Country of Honour programme is the most ambitious we have ever undertaken at Midem. In addition to being a celebration of Armenia’s cultural heritage, it is a showcase to the international music community, designed to support the development of Armenia’s music sector in all its forms,” commented Midem’s Bruno Crolot.
New to Midem, the inaugural Discovery Zone was dedicated to creators, brands and selected startups and their innovatory projects that promise to shape the music experience of tomorrow.
French telco Orange hosted a “connected space” to showcase its network capabilities; car manufacturer Mazda offered test drives of its new SUV, the CX-3, equipped with MZD Connect, its connected service; The Mo’Joes organised DJ battles using its Mash Machine high-tech “musical table”; British company Lasgo Chrysalis promoted the latest vinyl products for sale; Lucie Labs demoed its connected bracelet allowing users to interact during concerts and events; students from Berklee College of Music displayed their fresh musical apps and a range of fun interactive projects; and French streaming site Findspire showed what it can do to bring music to the masses.
Visitors also sampled what is on offer from Jarre Technologies, a range of high-end audio electronics developed by Jean-Michel Jarre; discovered the best-sellers and latest productions from online vinyl specialist Hands And Arms, and found out about Qobuz Hifi Streaming and downloading service to listen to music anywhere, anytime.
“The Discovery Zone is an important new addition to the Midem experience. New technology is helping consumers engage with music and is being adopted by major groups, such as Orange or Mazda. The fact that we opened up this exhibition area to the general public was clearly appreciated,” said Midem Director Bruno Crolot.
The 50th edition of Midem will take place June 28-July 1 2016 in Cannes.
About Midem – Midem is the leading international b2b event dedicated to the new music ecosystem, with a market, conferences, competitions, networking events and a festival. It’s the place where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, brands & talents come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people & music, transform audience engagement and form new business connections. www.midem.com